A young elf, Vanir, arrives at the treehouse to bring Eragon and Saphira to practice swordplay with other elves. Afraid of a relapse of his back pain, Eragon fights cautiously, and Vanir easily outmaneuvers him, taunting him all the while. Angered, Eragon attacks again and begins overpowering the elf, but his infirmity strikes again, incapacitating him; when he comes to, Vanir is continuing to mock him.
Later, while meditating on the ants, Eragon realizes that a reason war with Galbatorix is justified is to rescue the two remaining dragon eggs and save the race of dragons. Oromis congratulates Eragon for his understanding, and then asks him to consider whether anyone thinks of himself as evil; even Urgals, according to Oromis, should be understood not just condemned.
Oromis instructs Eragon in energy-efficient ways to kill using magic. While discussing magic as a battle tactic, Eragon realizes that at Farthen Dûr, no one had warned him to protect himself against enemy magicians, a fact that leads to realize that the Twins, leaders of the Varden’s magicians, must have wanted him to be captured by Durza.
They also discuss the Ra’zac; Oromis says that they are their own kind of creature not related to any of the other races, and are uniquely designed to hunt humans. Their humanoid forms are actually the pupa stage of Ra’zac development, which lasts for twenty years; adults of the species are the winged creatures Roran saw the Ra’zac riding.